SMTP server workarounds?

I’m helping a friend set up our school’s email account on her phone. I have mine auto forward to Gmail, but she prefers to have hers separate.

Problem is, our school’s SMTP won’t let you connect, unless you’re on campus using their internet. Short of having to use the web mail, is there something else I can use? I tried just punching in the Gmail settings, but then it displays my address as the Gmail one, which defeats the purpose!

The only thing other than forwarding that would work is to have a machine on the school’s network accept connections from your friend’s computer outside the school network and forward them to the school’s mail server. That’s called a ‘proxy’, and the problem with it is that any school paranoid enough to restrict their mail server that way would likely have a fit if they knew someone was proxying in to use their mail server from outside their network.

The Internet Model doesn’t have four layers, it has five: Administration runs on top of, and controls, everything else, and their policy ultimately prevails.

This is an age-old problem.
The best solution is to convince the school’s IT guys to allow secure logins. Then, you could use their SMTP servers from anywhere. You can usually set up your email preferences so that your reply-to address is independent of the actual sending address, but be warned - some email servers will consider that to be spam, and reject any emails sent this way.

try using an alternate port for the SMTP connection (587?)

I would check to see if the server doesn’t already provide secure access on port 587. This is a common thing to do, and just as common is the problem where no-one is told that they should use it if they need to connect from outside the home network.

No SMTP server should ever accept unsecured requests from outside - that simply allows them to be used as a spam relay. So the usual answer is unsecured only inside the home network, and secure, via port 587 from elsewhere. So point the client and port 587 and set the protocol to be secure. This will work for the vast majority of setups.

Maybe you can set up Gmail to use your school address as the From address, as explained here. Your Gmail address would appear only as the Sender in the header, not From or Reply-to (and most email clients won’t display Sender by default).

But a secure connection on port 587 is easier, if your school permits it.

Thanks guys,

No luck so far! 587 is also bouncing on the phone.

This is a quote from my school’s tech support page:

So…it’s my cellphone’s fault? :dubious:

The tech support page sounds like it is written by someone without out a clue. What the heck do they mean “More and more Internet service providers are refusing access using our SMTP protocol.”? My best guess is that they had an open relay available and got themselves on a spam relay blacklist. If this is what happened, and this is the response, the admin is clueless, and needs to be taught about secure access.

I’d go on a rant about how shitty my school’s administration is in several respects, but that’s another thread, lol…

Not illogical at all. Many recent virus infections used the victim’s computer as a port 25 spam relay station, now that relay is blocked routinely on email servers. A smart sysadmin blocks port 25 outbound on the firewall except for the email server, and does not relay port 25. Also, I have run across ISP’s (like telephone company) that especially in the home DSL offerings do not allow port 25 traffic either way. You need email, use a web client or a secure client like Windows Live, or their own email. they block email, and as a bonus, force anyone who wants their own email server to purchase the more expensive Port-25-permitted commercial service.

(Note too, most ISP’s do not allow you to login on the road if you use SMTP/POP3. They only accept SMTP send from clients on the ISP’s network; someone cannot hack your account and then use it to send spam from China.

On top of that, most large ISP’s have implemented SPAM filters on their email servers (they don’t want to be blacklisted) so some of your email may not go through.

The iPhone email client for Exchange, for example I think, uses the IMAP protocol (similar to Web Mail) rather than pure SMTP/POP as the email client. The sysadmin only has to open secure access, IIRC on standard port 443 which is forwarded to the email server anyway for webmail (unless they use a nonstandard port). I have made iPhone client and Exchange work on a nonstandard port (i.e.

Another alternative (cheap and dirty solution) is to set a rule in the email server to forward all your incoming email to the phone’s email account, and as mentioned earlier, change the “reply to:” address.

If you want to check your company’s blacklist status, from inside the firewall find your public IP address ( and then check its MX blacklist status at a site like “”.

The problem is, SMTP is so insecure that everyone wants only the large servers with SPAM control to use it nowadays.

Nope. I run an email server and the fact that ISPs block port 25 has nothing to do with my server. It means ISPs require their clients to use their SMTP server for outgoing mail. I have this very disclaimer on my mail setup instructions page.

If you use your ISP’s SMTP server for outgoing mail, you should still be able to use your email address of choice for the return address. You may or may not need to enter in your ISP-provided login for outgoing mail settings. But that’s the sort of thing you look up on your ISP’s help page.

I think both the above missed the point. The quote from the admin makes no sense. Maybe it is mistyped, but the quote reads “more and more Internet service providers are refusing access using our SMTP protocol”. The word “our” is illogical. I assumed they meant that in the past they had found themselves having SMTP requests that their server originated dropped by downstream servers. This typically happens when they have left port 25 open and their server has been flagged as an open relay. They then discovered that to get un-blacklisted they had to shut down the port for outside access - at which point they correctly did so, but were clueless enough that they didn’t understand about enabling a secure connection to allow useful outside access to the server. Blocking outgoing traffic on port 25 is a good idea, but has nothing to do with the question of legitimate incoming traffic.

Most ISP’s block port 25 for access outside of the networks that they control (i.e networks that they control access to via some other authentication mechanism they consider safe and allow unsecured access via port 25.) Mostl allow secure access to SMTP via port 587 from anywhere.

Note, use of SMTP, secure or not, is nothing to do with use of POP or IMAP. POP and IMAP are used to manage your mailbox. They are how you read you email. They are not used to send email, and have nothing to do with the problem at hand.

If you read your email with POP, usually you then send email with SMTP. For me to send email outside my local domain with a POP3 account, I send SMTP to my lcaol email server which then relays it to other domains.

Typically, email servers do NOT allow SMTP mail to be relayed fto the restof the world if itoriginates from outside the local network or firewall, or for ISP’s, from outside the ISP network. Also, ITGOD (In The Good Old Days) SMTP did not even require authentication. One of the POP3 client options was whether you needed to authenticate to send email.

IMAP, however, is a complete send-and-receive client email protocol that can require secure (encrypted) authentication. thus, it is safe as a protocol to use from anywhere.

Port 587 is secure SMTP, which also requires a secure login. Your email provider might have this port open already, or you might be able to persuade them to open it.

yeah, the support missive is confusing. I believe what they are saying is this - again, ITGOD you could send port 25 to anywhere without authentication. In fact, ISP’s used to provide a general local email server that you could use to send mail on port 25. The theory was that you could read your school email with POP3 and then send outgoing mail, not through the remote school server, but via your home local cable or phone company SMTP provider (since you were on their network). More and more ISPs either stopped providing this service (unauthenticated SMTP) or relay with a different email “from” (sending from as

(We did something similar when fixing a balcklisted company - we used the local cable company’s SMTP server as a relay “smarthost” until the blacklist issues were corrected, since they were the ISP. All the client’s SMTP server outbond traffic when through Shaw’s spam-filtered SMTP host, no authentication needed. I don’t think Shaw allows this any more.)

Of course, this setup used to work for home PC’s but stll did not solve the problem of travelling with a laptop. you would need to know every location’s local SMTP server.

It just sounds to me like the help page / policy has not been updated in years.

Why not use the cell phone provider’s SMTP servers? That’s how I roll. Or…would. If I wanted any part of sorting through email on my phone! :stuck_out_tongue:

I set other people up that way though, and I’ve done the same on my own for testing purposes.

Most of this post is quite well informed if a postmaster may say so. IMAP like POP is a download your email protocol. It doesn’t send anything, the sending is still SMTP based.


Thanks. never done formal anything with IMAP. I assumed it was a full email client protocol.
(or I’m confusing it with MAPI)

It also turns out I am 100% wrong … even tho I have run IMAP servers for years.

IMAP has an Outbox extension : client uploads to Draft folder, tells server to move mail from Draft -> Outbox and the IMAP server passes it on to the local MTA This happens server side so client support is not relevant.


I’m no expert, but every time I’ve set up an email client, I’ve had to specify an SMTP server whether I was using IMAP or POP. Peruse the configuration instructions for just about any email provider (e.g., Gmail’s) and you will see this is the case. So I don’t know about that Outlook extension, but I don’t think the majority of setups in the wild have outgoing mail going through the imap server. Maybe it’s an MS Exchange thing (one admittedly ubiquitous email system I have never administered).

It is true however, that with IMAP clients you can move messages around willy-nilly between server-side folders. So if one of those folders is an outbox, I suppose outbound mails can go out that way. But again, I don’t think that’s typical.

that’s a way to send all your e-mails directly into your recipient’s spam folder imho.

That’s what I’ve been doing - forwarding it through my ISP server on MY school account. Girl I’m helping, as an update, only has this account and GMAIL, and as posters above have pointed out, changing my Gmail display address is an easy way to get into a spam folder.

Is there a third option? Cell phone data SMTP? Public SMTP that are secure? Other? :confused: